Review by: j_ung, 2005-05-15
THIS REVIEW WRITTEN BY THE ADAMS CITY CLIMBING EAGLES AND POSTED BY J_UNG
[b]Full Disclosure: The company that manufactured this equipment provided it free of charge to RC.com and RC.com then provided it as compensation to the reviewer for his or her review. This company does not currently advertise on RC.com.[/b]
The first thing you’ll notice about Tite-grip hand antiperspirant is the minty butt smell, particularly in a gym setting. Outdoors, the smell changes to minty with only a hint of butt, a nice plus for sure. We found that Tite-grip performs better in the outdoors than in a gym. While not intended to be a chalk replacement, we did find that we didn’t need to use chalk, even on a two-pitch trad route. It doesn’t last as long indoors, however, an observation also made by j_ung: “My only problem with it is that it didn't last very long, especially when applied to my hands for gym climbing. The coarse plastic holds take the Tite-grip coating off after only a few routes and then I have to reapply or return to chalking frequently. Sure, it helps me use less chalk, but it's almost like I just found a replacement product to burn through.”
Of course, even though your hands LOOK like you’ve just chalked up, you haven’t and so the psychological piece of chalking up is gone… the “White Courage” factor so many climbers rely on: “Once I chalk up, I can send this route/problem.” Not so with Tite-grip… it’s all you, baby. This can be a real plus when it comes to routes where once you get moving, you don’t want to stop, but NOT chalking at rests can take some getting used to.
Tite-grip's best use may be for redpoint burns, especially for boulderers, who have the luxury of stopping whenever they wish to apply a fresh coat.
On longer routes where the Tite-grip may wear off, it’s likely better to bring a chalk bag along since stopping to tear open a packet of Tite-grip, squirting it on, rubbing it in, and waiting for it to dry would be cumbersome to say the least. That's not to mention the environmental issue of leaving small plastic tubes at the base of your favorite crag from dropping it, accidentally or otherwise.
Another nice plus of Tite-grip is that it does come off easily with soap and water, so if you have compunctions about eating antiperspirant (as opposed to eating chalk, mind you- the 7th Food Group for climbers), you can just wash it off. Fortunately, it keeps your hands dry without drying them out. At $7.99 (MSRP) for a 2 oz. bottle (an average of 30 uses, according to the website), it may dry out your wallet, however. Compare to an average $1.50 for a 2 oz. block of chalk, and Tite-grip may not be that much of an improvement. Even $4.00 for an eco-friendly chalk ball is likely a better investment when looking at number of uses vs. cost.
Overall, Tite-grip works and it does its job well. We like the product (in spite of its… unusual odor), but the price of it would make us think twice about investing in a tube.